back to top

21 Medieval Marginalia That Look Like Emojis

Just like emojis, marginalia - the pictures in the margins of medieval manuscripts - perform a bunch of different functions. They can add to, or illustrate the text they're with, or they can be completely random. And sometimes they look just like emojis.

Posted on

1.

"Cow-stag of Chester". From a 12th-century manuscript from Lincoln, England. Written by Gerald of Wales.
bl.uk / Via Royal 13 B VIII f. 19v

"Cow-stag of Chester".

From a 12th-century manuscript from Lincoln, England. Written by Gerald of Wales.

2.

The floating head of Christ. From a 14th-century manuscript from London, written by James le Palmer.
bl.uk / Via Royal 6 E VI f. 16v

The floating head of Christ.

From a 14th-century manuscript from London, written by James le Palmer.

3.

Hunting Grotesque.From a 14th-century Flemish Book of Hours, a devotional book with prayers in.
thedigitalwalters.org / Via The Digital Walters, MS W87, f. 8v

Hunting Grotesque.

From a 14th-century Flemish Book of Hours, a devotional book with prayers in.

4.

Head of Christ.From a 13th-century English Book of Hours.
thedigitalwalters.org / Via The Digital Walters, MS W102, f. 29r

Head of Christ.

From a 13th-century English Book of Hours.

5.

Crocodile.From 13th-century bestiary, probably made in Rochester, England.
bl.uk / Via Royal 12 F XIII f. 24

Crocodile.

From 13th-century bestiary, probably made in Rochester, England.

6.

Angry Taurus.From an 11th-century French manuscript containing texts on astrology.
bl.uk / Via Royal 13 A XI f. 108v

Angry Taurus.

From an 11th-century French manuscript containing texts on astrology.

7.

Owl trying to ignore that he's being pecked by birds.From a 13th-century bestiary, probably made in Salisbury.
bl.uk / Via Harley 4751 f. 47

Owl trying to ignore that he's being pecked by birds.

From a 13th-century bestiary, probably made in Salisbury.

8.

Marginal head who cannot believe it.From a 14th-century book of meditations and prayers from Flanders or the Rhineland.
Flickr: beinecke_library / Via The Rothschild Canticles, MS 404, f. 157v

Marginal head who cannot believe it.

From a 14th-century book of meditations and prayers from Flanders or the Rhineland.

9.

A pard. Like a lion but not a lion.From a 13th-century English bestiary, probably from Salisbury.
bl.uk / Via Harley 4751 f. 6

A pard. Like a lion but not a lion.

From a 13th-century English bestiary, probably from Salisbury.

10.

Snail cat, snail cat...From a 14th-century Dutch book of hours.
bl.uk / Via Stowe 17 f. 185

Snail cat, snail cat...

From a 14th-century Dutch book of hours.

11.

Sad Cat, so alone.From a bestiary in a 13th-century English manuscript.
bl.uk / Via Harley 3244 f. 49v

Sad Cat, so alone.

From a bestiary in a 13th-century English manuscript.

12.

Dancer. Single lady.From a late 13th-century French manuscript with chants in.
bl.uk / Via Harley 4951 f. 300v

Dancer. Single lady.

From a late 13th-century French manuscript with chants in.

13.

Devil and a dead man.From an early 14th-century French manuscript.
bl.uk / Via Arundel 484 f. 245

Devil and a dead man.

From an early 14th-century French manuscript.

14.

Ants.From a 13th-century English miscellany.
bl.uk / Via Harley 3244 f. 50

Ants.

From a 13th-century English miscellany.

15.

Trumpeter.From a 14th-century book of meditations and prayers from Flanders or the Rhineland.
Flickr: beinecke_library / Via The Rothschild Canticles, MS 404, f. 134r

Trumpeter.

From a 14th-century book of meditations and prayers from Flanders or the Rhineland.

16.

Musician.From a late 13th-century French manuscript with chants in.
bl.uk / Via Harley 4951 f. 297v

Musician.

From a late 13th-century French manuscript with chants in.

17.

Party, and "a hare placing a stick upon a dog's head".From The Barcelona Haggadah, a 14th-century Spanish manuscript.
bl.uk / Via Additional 14761 f. 26v

Party, and "a hare placing a stick upon a dog's head".

From The Barcelona Haggadah, a 14th-century Spanish manuscript.

18.

Snail with a man's head.From a 13th-century French manuscript.
bl.uk / Via Sloane 2435 f. 23

Snail with a man's head.

From a 13th-century French manuscript.

19.

"Woman of Connaught" and a friend.From a 12th-century manuscript from Lincoln, England. Written by Gerald of Wales.
bl.uk / Via Royal 13 B VIII f. 19v

"Woman of Connaught" and a friend.

From a 12th-century manuscript from Lincoln, England. Written by Gerald of Wales.

20.

The Majestic Elephant.From a 15th-century Italian herbal.
bl.uk / Via Sloane 4016 f. 50

The Majestic Elephant.

From a 15th-century Italian herbal.

21.

Manicule.From a 14th-century Italian manuscript.
bl.uk / Via Arundel 471 ff. 144v-145

Manicule.

From a 14th-century Italian manuscript.

22.

Dancing Manicule.From a late 13th-century English manuscript.
bl.uk / Via Royal 12 E XXV f. 23

Dancing Manicule.

From a late 13th-century English manuscript.